Your college(s) of choice may have stringent testing  standards that require you to take the SAT Subject Tests. Be sure to check all testing requirements for each prospective school to avoid overlooking important admissions criteria.

What are Subject Tests?

As their name indicates, these tests (formerly known as SAT II) measure achievement in specific high school courses. There are 20 possible tests across five content areas. They are different in nature to the SAT and also differ from AP tests, which measure college level curriculum. Many students find Subject Tests similar to classroom tests.

Registering for Subject Tests

The Subject Tests are given on all national SAT test dates, except in March. Not all tests are given on all dates, so check the SAT site for planning test dates. If you are considering a foreign language listening test, opportunity is very limited.

When you register on the Collegeboard website, you will indicate which tests you need to take.

You can take up to three of these one-hour tests in one day, but you won’t be able to squeeze the SAT in as well. Consequently, it’s essential that you sit down with a calendar in advance and schedule all SAT, ACT, and SAT Subject Test dates to avoid conflicts while meeting all your testing goals.

When Should I Take Subject Tests?

May and June of the junior year are popular test dates for the Subject Tests. Fall of senior year is often a good second choice. Your best preparation for testing is what you’ve done in school, so preparation should require little outside studying—especially if you’ve prepared for AP exams as well. You will still want to take a look at sample questions to familiarize yourself with content and layout before test day, as well as to help guide you on which tests to take.

What if My College Only “Recommends” the SAT Subject Tests?

The Subject Tests generally fall into three admissions categories: required, not required, or recommended. If they are recommended, it means just that. Do it to strengthen your application as necessary. Remember, SAT offers “score choice” for Subject Tests, too, so it’s a good idea to give it a shot if the school recommends them.